Girls golf: State scouting, Northwest
Girls golf: State scouting, NorthwestWhat: 2016 IHSA Class 2A girls golf state finals
Where: Hickory Point Golf Club, Decatur
When: Friday, Saturday (18 holes each day)
Team competitions: Barrington, Galesburg, Prospect, Hinsdale Central, Benet, Naperville North, Normal, O'Fallon, St. Charles East, St. Charles North
Area Individuals: Buffalo Grove junior Hairi Lee, Wheeling sophomore Adrienne Rohwedder, Hersey senior Megan Kopeny, Schaumburg junior Jennifer Cappello
Area teams: The Mid-Suburban League will be represented by the top two finishers in its conference meet held three weeks ago at Arlington Lakes Golf Club. Champion Barrington and runner-up Prospect will visit the Hickory Point layout under coaches who have quite a bit of state experience.
Fillies Hall of Fame coach Jodi Schoeck is guiding her tenth team to the state tournament while the Knights are making their sixth trip under coach Jim Hamann.
Scouting the Fillies: Barrington's last appearance as a team came in 2007 as part of a four-year run. This year's team includes two players who have had sisters compete in the state finals. Allie Quinn's sister Taylor played on the 2007 state finals team while Nicole Ciskowski's sister Heather was an individual state finalist in 2011. Coincidentally, Heather is currently competing for the University of Minnesota, the same school where Taylor played.
Barrington senior Reena Sulkar has joined an elite group of Fillies who played in four state tourneys. The others are Melissa Lagod, Brittany Keiter, McCall Barsamian, Caroline Kerns and Taylor Quinn.
Completing Schoeck's deepest team in 30 seasons are senior Allie Quinn, senior Shivani Majmudar, senior Akshara Ramakrishnan, junior Swetha Seshadri, junior Maggie Hoffman, sophomore Nicole Ciskowski, sophomore Ishani Majmudar, sophomore Olivia Lee, and freshman Caroline Smith, the MSL individual champion (66 at Arlington Lakes) who fired a 1-under 70 when she debuted at the Barrington Invite at Bonnie Dundee in late August. Smith tied for sixth in the sectional with a 76.
"These girls have believed in themselves all season," said Schoeck, who has guided the Fillies to 13 MSL titles (four straight from 2004 through 2007), 13 regional crowns and 10 appearances in the state finals, including third in 1996. "And we are one more step closer to finishing strong as a team. All ten girls have played a huge part getting us to this point."
Sulkar, who tied for second at the BG sectional with a 2-under par 73, has the most experience playing at Hickory Point.
"It's pretty familiar to me now," said the Illinois recruit. "It's pretty fair if you hit the straight. I like the greens.
"Advancing down here as a team is one more step we've taken. We are going step by step and now with this being state, we have this opportunity as a team so we might as well go for it all."
Scouting the Knights: Prospect coach Jim Hamann is directing his sixth team to the state finals, already earning two state titles (2011 and 2013), a second place, fourth and fifth in the last five years. This is one of his few teams without a future D-I golfer. "One of my proudest accomplishments as a golf coach is helping this year's team qualify for the state tournament," he said. The roster includes senior Sabrina Accardi, senior Kate Ponzi, sophomore Emily Fleming, junior Allison Buck, junior Margherite Pettenuzzo, senior Mary Schafer, senior Daleny Halloran, freshman Kelly Kavanagh and senior Alyssa Sharp.
The Knights' third-place score of 330 at the BG sectional was the result of Ponzi's postseason career best score of 1-over 76 (tied for sixth), followed by Fleming (82), Kavanagh (84) and Schafer (88).
"We are excited for these kids," said Hamann, who led Prospect to seven straight MSL championships prior to last year when he had his youngest team in nine years. "We've had a good history at Hickory Point. We like the course and we are looking to go down there and place well." Ponzi and Sabrina Accardi were members of the 2014 state finalist team which took fifth and both played in the state tournament in 2015.
Individual front: Four golfers from the Mid-Suburban League will be among the individual field. The group includes Buffalo Grove junior Haeri Lee, Hersey senior Megan Kopeny, Wheeling sophomore Adrienne Rohwedder and Schaumburg junior Jennifer Capello.
Lee, who had a strong IJGA summer and was the highest MSL finisher (12th) in the AA state tourney last year, tied for tenth (77) at the BG sectional.
"It was a bit of a struggle," she said of her sectional outing at the Buffalo Grove Golf Club. "It's my home course and I should know what is happening. I just wasn't able to fully execute.
"Honestly, at Hickory point, it's just a matter of staying consistent and mentally strong. Those are the two things I am working on. You can score well there (at Hickory Point) if you keep the ball in the fairway."
Kopeny, who is committed to Winthrop University in South Carolina, is making her first appearance in Decatur.
"It's awesome going down my senior year," she said. "Our sectional (BG) was so hard so if you can do well there, you should be able to do well at state."
Rohwedder finished tied for 13th with a 78 at the Buffalo Grove sectional to become the first female golfer in Wheeling history to advance to the state finals in school history.
Capello shot an 85 at Fox Run to tie for 16th at the Conant sectional held at Fox Run Golf Course in Elk Grove.